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The Aslan - Part 5

Iilgan/Trojan Reaches [2719] C467787-8 Ag Ri 812 Cs G7 V

The Aslan flagship jumped in to the Iilgan system following the vanguard as planned. The smooth lines of the ship concealed its awesome firepower. The flagship was soon joined by hundreds of other starships filling Iilgan orbital space with Aslan. The distinctive curved blister dotted hulls of the ships did little to reveal the purpose of each ship; it was hard to tell warship from transport, scout from tanker; only their size and speed gave any indication to the observers below what the purpose of each individual ship was. Next the skies of Iilgan were filled with small stubby winged teardrop shaped fighter craft whose purpose was to establish air superiority in support of the coming landings. The tear-shaped fighters streaked over the human settlements collecting intelligence which was instantly electronically sent back to dedicated tactical computers on the warships in orbit above. The government observers on the surface knew as the watch the Aslan ships maneuvering in orbit that there intent was not to occupy Iilgan alone, this was an invasion fleet meant for the entire sector, and Iilgan was only the beginning.

Field Marshal Syelreaiyates walked into the Army Battle Control Center and moved straight to the wide, panoramic window dominating the front of the room; below stretched the orbital view of Iilgan. From this vantage point in the bow of the flagship he would command his occupying armies as they swept through human claimed space. He leaned forward placing his clawed hand on the tilted clear aluminum of the expansive window.  Below between the surface and the flag ship in lower orbits moved some of his warships, prowling between the larger battleships and the intended targets below. Their purpose was to intercept anything coming from the surface be they fighters or m missiles. It was an impressive view, seeing ships maneuvering in orbital space, one this old soldier never tired of.

“Resistance?” growled the Field Marshal as he turned back to look at his senior staff.

“None,” returned General Htaeahealr, his senior ground commander. “We have noted what looks to be fighting between government forces and well armed civilian groups, but there has been no move by the planetary government against us.”

“Contact?” asked the Field Marshal.

“No my lord, they have been broadcasting news of our arrival to the general population, but again nothing directed at us,” answered Htaeahealr.

“Hmm, I expected more,” offered Syelreaiyates as he turned back to look out the window. After a few minutes of watching his fleet the Field Marshal then walked to the oversized holographic projector situated near the center of the control center. This particular holographic projector was configured to emit an image of the target planet rotating above an image of specific areas of the surface, providing both a strategic view and a tactical view of battles his forces were involved in. At present the surface projection was focused on Ysolde City, the capital and primary spaceport of this world.

As Syelreaiyates looked at the projection of the city General Htaeahealr spoke, “The planetary population is moderate with approximately eighty million according to the Imperial Census information. Their government is a civil service bureaucracy; they are governed by bureaucrats that will ensure everything is done in accordance to code and statue.”

Syelreaiyates growled a low rumbling growl, the brightness in his dark eyes indicating his pleasure with what he heard, “Yes my old and scared friend, it is good that we hunt in a pasture before meet those that would disagree with our claim to their land, it is good for the young warriors to harden their mettle here, now before we meet the Imperial Army and Navy on a less hospitable world.”

A junior officer approached the Field Marshal interrupting General Htaeahealr’s hearty response, “My lord the Battle Operator has signaled that he has sufficient intelligence to begin the landings as planned, he reports there are no surprises, all is as expected.”

“Begin the landings,” was the only thing Syelreaiyates said to the junior officer before he moved to lean with both of his large hands on the holographic projection table. He studied the three dimensional map of Ysolde City as he had already done so many times before. Ysolde was typical of Imperial cities; there was the usual urban sprawl, with the starport located in the choicest of spots in the city. The humans began all of their cities in the same way Aslan did, the starport is the hub, nearly always established first, and then everything else would evolved from it. That was the best indicator of a transplanted civilization or one that was indigenous to a world. On homeworlds the spaceflight comes much later after the major cities have been established and evolved. Colonized worlds the port comes first, then the colonists spread out from it to settle the rest of the world. Iilgan was a colonized world, colonized by humans spreading out from the Third Imperium. Now it would become an Aslan colony.

“First Division has been ordered to begin their landings.” General Htaeahealr broke his train of thought as he moved to stand beside Syelreaiyates. Both warriors looked up at the image of the globe slowly turning above them in synch with the rotation of the actual planet. Bright red models of his fleet were moving like insects a few centimeters above the digital surface of the projection. The larger ship models were concentrating over the spot where the city of Ysolde was on the globe. Small dots began to move away from the red ship models toward the surface. The dots represented the saucer-shaped landing craft used by the Aslan to deliver their assault troops to the surface.

The first of the landing craft moved away from the troop carrier toward the atmosphere of Iilgan picking up velocity as it dropped away. Its shape was optimal for quick entry into the atmosphere and also made the tracking by fire control radars difficult. Each of the swarm of landing craft took different routes to their destinations; the plan was to occupy the far side of the Ysolde River opposite the starport and the highlands to the north of the city. The third regiment of the division would land at the starport itself once the first two were down and the troops in position. The air space above and around the city was already under the control of the Aslan fighter craft that had descended as the capital ships had moved into orbit to ensure there had been no missile fire from the surface.

The Aslan order of battle was organized very similarly to that of the Third Imperium. The two had been either fighting or allied with one and other for hundreds of years. Over that period of time universal necessities of war fighting had made their mark on both militaries. The most successful military culture in the last two thousand years had been the Terrans from a world called Earth on the rimward frontier of Charted Space. That single planet had militarily defeated both the Aslan and the First Imperium at their pinnacles of military development. The Terrans had defeated the First Imperium and established the short lived Second Imperium all within a few centuries. Their legacy had been the imprint of their style and organization of war fighting on the known galaxy. Of course in nature a truism is a truism for a reason, and the natural division of soldiers in to specific groups was universal, regardless of the name used to describe them.

The Aslan organized their forces the same way the humans of the Third Imperium did, the largest organization was the army which was then organized into divisions. Subordinate to the division were specialized commands, such as fighter command, missile or artillery command, transport command, and support command. Each command was led by an officer with the rank of Commandant who was referred to as “Commandant of the Artillery”, or “Commandant of Trains”. The “Commandant of Warriors” was the senior tactical commander; his command was divided into clan sponsored units roughly equivalent to Imperial regiments but was more fluid and less rigidly organized.  Within the Aslan command structure these subordinate units are referred to by their sponsoring clan’s name and range in size from hundreds to thousands of warriors dependent on the power and prestige of the owning clan. When smaller clans pool their forces to create a tactical unit, the name of the clan providing the largest number of troops is the name used to identify the unit. Company sized elements within the clan are known as the leader of the group’s pride, as in Htaeahealr’s Pride. Generally as an Aslan leader moves up the chain of command his pride becomes his personal body guard.

Now the Ihatei fleet’s First Division of Warriors were securing the city of Ysolde. General Ahyeeaw, commander of the First Division stepped from the landing craft and quickly surveyed the activity around him. He wore his clan decorated combat armor. His armor was obsidian black with red flames painted onto the shoulders and helmet giving him the appearance of a demon from human mythology. Wrapped around his waist has his ceremonial sash with his holstered Tahestah, An Aslan custom designed 9 millimeter auto pistol given to him by his father when he entered the service of their clan. 

To his flanks his warriors were busy setting up hasty fighting positions and surveying their targets from a distance using binoculars and other battlefield sensing devices. All of the warriors of the First Division were equipped with the combat armor giving them the appearance of giant bipedal beasts rather than Aslan soldiers. His enhanced hearing augmented by the combat armor allowed General Ahyeeaw to hear the sounds of the men setting in, coordinating fields of fire and designating target reference points incase the human colonists decided to make a fight of it. Part of him wished they would, his warriors were tense from the long flight from Aslan home space, but the other part of him knew he would need those resources spent in such a wasteful battle would be needed later when they faced the Imperial Army on another human settled world.

He walked a short distance across ravaged soil worn raw from the movement of his troops to a high point overlooking the river separating his troops from the Ysolde city perimeter. Some of this side of the river had been developed commercially, but the majority of the structures were clearly on the opposite side of the river. The river itself was no obstacle for his combat armor equipped troops. The warriors could cross the large body of water in seconds using their grav-vehicle personnel carriers’ free-flight capability. The river served more as a demarcation line than an actual barrier.

General Ahyeeaw walked up a small bank overlooking the edge of the river. His personal field staff followed close behind him, all dressed as he was in the command version of the clan’s combat armor. Despite his troop’s work in the open there had been no response from the humans living in the city of Ysolde. Turning to his staff he asked, “What is the status of the Second and Third Divisions?”

“My lord the Second Division is occupying the highlands to the north of the city. Third Division is now preparing to drop Clan Ktaaotloa directly on the starport,” reported one of his field lieutenants. 

“Very well, call all the clan commandants to this location. We will press across the river at the time the Third Division is ready to begin its ascent to the surface,” ordered General Ahyeeaw. He waited as his staff officers carried out his bidding. He surveyed the surrounding country side; Iilgan was a lush terrestrial world, suitable for Aslan as well as human. The blue-green foliage with the bright blue sky gave the landscape a surreal feel. The greenish waters of the Ysolde River also looked out of place. The red dirt that now covered the floor of the First Division’s primary landing site contrasted with the blues and greens to create false sense of standing at the center of a bull’s-eye or target for an enemy artillery or missile barrage. The general began to pace, like a caged animal, he wanted to get his troops moving as soon as possible.

First Division was made up of six commands, Artillery Command and Combat Support Command would occupy the landing site and expand it to include the division’s supply depot, air defense and artillery fire support bases. His four tactical commands were in the tradition of the Aslan primarily infantry units. The Aslan preferred the flexibility that basing their maneuver units on infantry formations provided. If a certain type of vehicle was needed for a particular objective, the vehicles were made available from the division, crews were trained and they were deployed. When the operation was finished the vehicles were returned to the control of the depot commandant.

For this operation the only supporting vehicles that First Division required were grav-carriers to move the wounded troops to the landing site and to ferry in ammunition and supplies to warriors in contact with any resistance. General Ahyeeaw stopped to watch the unloading of one of the Aslan grav-carriers from the saucer-shaped Claw-class landing craft. Each Claw had the capability to bring four grav-carriers to the surface quickly. Each grav-carrier could easily carry a platoon sized element; four could move the average Aslan pride. The grav-carriers used overlapping plate armor giving the vehicles an insect-like appearance.

General Ahyeeaw’s attention was grabbed by the approach of a handful of Aslan nobles with very ornately decorated armor. The designs and details of the armor allowed General Ahyeeaw to recognize his clan commandants even at some distance. Aslan did not believe in concealing their leaders from the enemy on the field of battle. As the nobles approached their general they all held their hands down with palms skyward as a sign of subordination to their general’s authority over them. This ritual dated back as far as the history of the Aslan was recorded, similar to the humans saluting their leaders by touching the fingers of their weapon hand to their foreheads.

General Ahyeeaw raised both the armored faceplate and the glass plate of his combat armor’ helmet, he breathed in the pungent air of Iilgan for the first time. The aromas of the jungle behind him, the disturbed earth beneath his boots, and the distant stench of a human city all mixed and attempted to overwhelm his senses. Upon seeing his actions the senior officers of his division did the same. Slowly General Ahyeeaw passed before each Aslan grasping their shoulders and looking each of his chosen officers’ confidence as he looked deeply into their eyes. Once he had personally greeted each of his officers they collectively got to work on the details of their part of the occupation of Ysolde City.

“We have been given the honor of taking the police station located at the center of the city. This will be the most heavily protected of the law enforcers’ facilities and will demonstrate quickly and effectively the futility of resisting our power.” His eyes continued to scan the faces of his division’s clan commandants. Clan Tlaktear’s artillery will only be used in direct fire support to our advancing units. We will move by clan to arrive at the destination quickly, Clan Oi'ihao’s vehicles will move off and return to this base camp once the warriors have dismounted. Each of the clans will take up positions using the four cardinal points. Once in position Clan Yaehyus will lead the assault of the station with clans Yaia, Yeouau, Hyalera' in support. Ensure your pride captains are well briefed, be careful of the civilians but hold back nothing on the enforcers that are garrisoned within this complex, they are to be made an example of. At the first sign of resistance or hesitation on their part to obey, destroy them.” The group of Aslan nobles growled their acknowledgement of the task ahead of them.

The clans held the same position in the Aslan order of battle that the battalion or regiments held in the Imperial organization. The clans were fielding between 500 to 1,000 warriors dependent on how long it had been organized and its battle history. The more successful clans attracted veteran warriors. New clans were predominately household troops from the sponsoring families. First Division was a very experienced unit, with a long and colorful history. Nearly 5,000 warriors were preparing to assault the Ysolde police headquarters occupied by approximately a hundred to two hundred law enforcement, management, and emergency response personnel.

General Ahyeeaw walked back up to the elevated bank of the Ysolde River as his chief officers left to return to their own headquarters. This plan had been worked out before the fleet had entered the Iilgan system; his talk with the leaders was more customarily required than tactically needed. He once again scanned the far skyline of the city looking for some sign that the humans even realized they were there, but still saw nothing.

“Its amazing that their empire is considered to be greater than our own is it not Lord Ahyeeaw?” the voice of his personal advisor and Fteirko and his clan’s chief arbitrator came to him from his rear. He turned to see the old veteran slowly moving up the embankment to stand beside him. Although it have been many years since the last time this one has seen personal battle, the old warrior still wore his elaborately decorated combat armor. With the intricacies of Aslan culture and the elaborate military traditions that each clan followed and modified to suit their own station in the social order, the need of a negotiator or legal specialist in nearly every headquarters was well established. Earleatrais Tloakheyah had been in General Ahyeeaw’s house before the general had been born. 

General Ahyeeaw growled his approval at the approach of the old warrior turned philosopher. The general assisted the Old One the last few steps to stand beside him. “How is the army’s spirit Arbitrator?”

“Excellent my lord, how is your spirit?” growled the Old One back.

“Troubled, old friend,” he turned his gaze back toward the human city. “They will fight these humans; they are not that dissimilar to us. This is their land and we are taking their homes from them and establishing our dominance.”

“You are concerned my lord?” asked a surprised arbitrator.

The much larger Aslan turned a spoke directly to the Old One, “No, not at all, but I do not consider the wasting of life, even of the apish human’s lives to be trivial or some type of sport,” he explained. “There is no challenge in what we do here today; these human enforcers have no chance against the crack troops of an Ihatei Fleet.”

“Ah,” whispered the Old One, “You are concerned about the honor of your warriors being tainted by what happens here today.”  Trying to straiten his back in the burdensome combat armor old Tloakheyah raised his voice, “Your warriors will bring great honor to you and their clans today General, it is what is expected of them, no more and certainly no less.”

“Tloakheyah that police garrison is the opening battle of what will be a long war. We are not coming this time to live beside the humans; we come this time to displace the humans. To take all of what is theirs, not just neighboring lands.”

“Yes my lord,” the old Aslan growled in a low voice, “It will be glorious.”

A melodious chime in General Ahyeeaw’s helmet speakers informed him that the First Division was ready to move. He slid a plastic cover on the communications keyboard attached to his left forearm of his armor to type in the code for linking him to the fleet command channel with the manicured claw of his right hand. “This is General Ahyeeaw, my division is ready.”

A female battle operator’s voice politely asked him to wait while she passed that to the fleet command center commander. “My lord, Field Marshal Syelreaiyates sends his respects and orders you to proceed.”

“Very well,” General Ahyeeaw closed the communication and retyped in his division’s command network code on his forearm interface pad. “First Division, Second and Third Division have occupied their assault positions, advance and engage the enemy.”

Quietly nearly 4,000 Aslan warriors carried in hundreds of tactical grav-vehicles lifted off and moved across the Ysolde River to enter the city from its banks. In just a few seconds the assault force disappeared into the city landscape to General Ahyeeaw’s front. The war for the Trojan Reaches had begun.

Captain Kyuweea of Clan Yaehyus watched the faces of his warriors as the grav-vehicle moved quickly down the Ysolde City street, the carrier was approximately fifty to seventy meters above the ground. Modern cities tended to have layered transportation networks, small local convenience vehicles roamed intermixed with pedestrians and robotic utility units on the ground in small alleys connecting broad commercial or residential throughways. Overhead service and commercial grav-carriers usually flew using programmed routes through the network of buildings tens of meters above the ground. Finally the privately owned and government grav-vehicles normally flew at the highest altitudes of a few hundred meters in and around cities closely monitored and managed by local law enforcement. This traffic pattern was almost universal within the human Third Imperium and Aslan Hierate.

Captain Kyuweea’s convoy of armored grav-vehicles was moving at an altitude of about fifty meters to take advantage of the urban terrain. So far there had been no contact with the city’s defense or law enforcement forces. From his briefing on the transport ship he remembered that the intelligence officer had said that Iilgan Prime had an estimated population of about eighty-million people, roughly the size of a very large city on a well established hub world. This was truly a backwater world as far as civilized systems go. The only well established modern city on the planet was Ysolde City. Taking this city basically took control of the entire planet. The common school of thought both inside the Imperium and in the Hierate was that a colony this size generally would support a defense force of approximately 100,000 warriors. The Aslan battle operators had seen no evidence of a military organization this large from orbit. In fact the only indication at all that there was any kind of military activity at all was the presence of a small fleet of mercenary transports in high orbit over Ysolde City. All the officers from Division, through Clan, to individual prides had been called together via communicator link to observe the hasty abandonment of the large commercial transports by the mercenaries fleeing to the surface in grav-vehicles and shuttlecraft. The mercenaries had been tracked by the Ihatei fleet as they scurried to the surface like vermin abandoning a burning structure.

“Closing on the objective captain,” the voice of his grav-vehicle’s pilot brought Captain Kyuweea’s thoughts back to the task at hand.

He stood and faced the warriors crouching around him, and then he toggled his short range communications set so that his words would be transmitted to his warriors in the other carriers moving around him. “Listen to your battle group leaders, move according to the commandant’s plan. Do this thing quickly and as efficiently as you can. The people of this city must see immediately that there is no hope of resistance. Group leaders I want immediate reports when you take your assigned objectives. Now prepare for battle, honor and glory to us all.” All the warriors crouching around him let loose a bestial yell of acknowledgement and approval that he was sure the humans outside could hear in spite of the carrier’s thick armor.

“We are here!” the pilot’s excited announcement came through his helmet speakers. Suddenly the back ramp and the roof panels slid open exposing them to the outside. Instantly his warriors sprang from their crouching positions and rush out of the vehicle, some out the back ramp, others literally climbing and leaping from the sides of the carrier. Captain Kyuweea was surprised not to hear the sound of small arms fire as he sprinted out the back of the carrier and down the ramp. With his helmet on he had the capability to see which shapes moving frantically to his front were his troops and which were the enemy on the heads up display of his visor. He could see the location of his group leaders due computer generated rank icons that followed their identify friend of foe beacons. The icons hovered over their location reflected on his visor by his tactical computer. He quickly identified the location of Leader of Warriors Oihoasih, his junior group leader. Captain Kyuweea rushed to his location near the edge of a large multilevel building. The other warriors of the Leader Oihoasih group moved to allow space for the captain as he ran up. Once beside Oihoasih, Captain Kyuweea looked across the pedestrian way to the pride’s senior noncommissioned officer, Leader of Clansmen Ireua. Leader Ireua gave the captain the clear sign then waved the group he was with forward.

They had to cross a large open area of about fifty meters to get to the police headquarters building. The area was in the deepest part of the city with many multistoried structures surrounding them. It was dangerous because of the large kill zones that could be covered by the Ysolde police, especially snipers. To their left sat an open landing area for the police air/rafts and helicopters. Around the front of the building numerous small local conveyance vehicles used by the enforcers to patrol the city ground levels were also parked. The objective building itself was six stories high, the largest building in the immediate area, but not the largest building in the city. Very defendable as the mission operations order had described. Because Iilgan was a terrestrial world, there were many open windows in the objective and surrounding building that could be defended from.

Leader Ireua’s group was halfway across the danger area when the human enforcers opened fire from the police headquarters. Captain Kyuweea watched as four of his warriors fell immediately like rag dolls from the enemy fire. The shooters were professionals; they knew the weak spots on the Aslan combat armor. Police sharpshooters no doubt, the rest of Leader Ireua’s group returned fire as they scattered looking for hasty cover and concealment.

Captain Kyuweea yelled into his helmet microphone for the rest of the pride to begin suppressive fire, he himself brought his advanced combat rifle to his shoulder and began firing his magazine of caseless rounds into the windows he believed the shooters had fired from in short bursts. The noise from his pride firing into the building was thunderous. He leaned forward and tapped Leader Oihoasih on the shoulder and when the junior leader turned the captain waved him forward. Leader Oihoasih rose and waved his battle group forward, the small group moved as one to stand and then rush forward, their advance combat rifles at the ready. Leader Ireua’s group had reestablished itself and was placing heavy fire on the main door well and the two office windows immediately adjacent to it. Suddenly the veteran leader stood and fired two quick 10mm pocket grenades into the door well from his advanced combat rifle. As soon as the grenades hit the interior of the building they exploded with deafening sound. Oihoasih’s group rushed past the veteran leader’s group and charged the door well, firing their weapons to suppress the Ysolde police as they did.

From the office window to their left two humans dressed in camouflaged uniforms stood exposing themselves and targeted the first assault group led by Oihoasih. They were firing standard assault rifles as the leaned to get better fields of fire on the rushing Aslan. Both of the humans were obliterated from the responding fire from the rest of the pride using advanced combat rifles and light assault guns. Leader Oihoasih reported to Captain Kyuweea by helmet radio that he could hear the voices of the humans inside the building shouting as his group entered the front entrance. The junior leader ordered his warriors to take-up defensive positions and hold until another battle group could enter behind them. Leader Ireua suddenly stood in the door well, his group sliding past him to either side along the entrance walls. Ireua’s honored warrior took charge of the lead elements of the two groups and waved some to the left offices and the others to the right. Sporadic small arms fire could be heard as the warriors of the two lead groups clears the first floor offices.

Ireua walked up to stand beside the crouching Oihoasih, red blood flowing from a neck wound he received from the initial ambush. “Captain Kyuweea, this is Leader of Clansmen Ireua, we have established the breach point on the first floor, main entrance, clearing the floor now, my lord.” Then the senior enlisted leader of the pride’s eyes rolled back in his head and he crumpled to the floor in a heap. Oihoasih quickly grabbed the older warrior and pulled him to the side of the hallway out of the direct line of fire. He laid his rifle against the wall and then removed his own first aid pack from his battle harness. He unfolded the field dressing quickly and pressed it against the neck wound of the clansmen leader and pushed hard. Quickly the bandage filled with warm blood, covering Oihoasih’s hands. Oihoasih quickly release some of the pressure and reached for the vial of mercury powder in his first aid pouch, he quickly broke the vial and poured the powder into the pulsing wound as he had been taught to do. He felt Ireua’s body tense for a second then the tension in the other warrior’s body drained away and the clansmen went limp. The color drained from Ireua’s eyelids, lips and hand bottoms, a grayish or ash color film replaced his natural eye color. Oihoasih knew the pride’s senior enlisted leader’s life had just slipped away. Oihoasih quickly drew his combat knife and sliced away a lock of Ireua’s mane; he stuffed the lock of hair into his combat armor’s utility belt, grabbed his rifle and moved forward to regain control of his battle group.

Humans are much smaller than the average Aslan so negotiating the rooms and hallways of the police headquarters was somewhat difficult. From the way the battle was going it appeared that some of the humans were fighting their way back into the buildings basement or cellar, while another group was defending the second floor of the building. Oihoasih made his way to the bottom of a stair case being secured by a team of his warriors. The honored warrior that led the team quickly indicated that the humans had the top of the stairs covered with small arms fire. The bullet holes that dotted the stairs and the wall of the stair well bore his statement out. Use of a concussion grenade would be difficult and risky in this situation but Oihoasih wanted to end this fight as soon as possible. Slowly he eased up the stairs looking up between the cracks between the landings to the top floor. He felt one of the warriors grab his utility belt to help steady him as he moved up the stairs in this awkward way. Looking through his sights he aimed for the side of the stairs leading up to the third floor and fired. The 10mm grenade shot up only a few meters impacting where Oihoasih had aimed. The explosion was thunderous sending plaster and tiles down on the Aslan warriors like a hail storm.

Yelling a bestial yell Oihoasih charged up the stairs to the second floor immediately, his warriors trailing behind him. When he cleared the stair case he sprinted for the cover of an overturned desk as the plaster dust started to settle. He could hear the humans yelling from his front and somewhere behind him. He turned to see his warriors following him up in a single file; their bulk had made it hard to follow shoulder to shoulder up the narrow stair case.  Suddenly there was automatic fire from the sides of the room and from behind the staircase where it led to the next floor. Oihoasih survey the room quickly, it was an open bay with many desks organized in rows, and along the sides of the room were offices, probably where the police senior officers worked. Much of the furniture was scattered around the room from the chaos and mayhem the attack had created. Busted computer terminals lay thrown about, chairs were overturned, and sheets of paper were thrown about everywhere.

The crack of automatic weapons fire brought Oihoasih back to the situation at hand. He saw his warriors rushing to his right also seeking cover. The first fighter was the group’s honored warrior. From his right where the stairs went up to the third floor a human in riot police armor leaned out and fired a burst from an assault rifle at medium range. He hit the honor warrior in mid-stride dropping him despite his combat armor. Oihoasih quickly brought his own advanced combat rifle to his shoulder and fired a grenade above and behind the human attacker. The explosion threw the human into the air and ten meters into the large room. From Oihoasih’s left he heard a second crack of the human’s assault rifles. He heard the loud thud of the rounds striking the hard steel desk he was using for cover. Oihoasih ducked and rolled to his right stopping on his belly on the right side of the heavy desk. His field of fire was obstructed by other furniture. He rolled two full rotations further to his right hitting up against another desk. Quickly switched his combat rifle to the assault rifle mode; he raised himself up on his knees surveying the room to his front looking for the human firing the assault rifle.

He saw the human who was aiming at his former position. The human realized his error and was shifting his aim when Oihoasih fired his combat rifle. Oihoasih’s shots were high and to the right missing his target. The human was obviously startled as he returned fire, missing Oihoasih. Oihoasih realigned his aim of the combat rifle and fired a second burst this time striking the human full in the chest driving him back and down to the floor. Using battle language Oihoasih gave a short command for the battle group to move forward and sweep the floor. A second human, a female, peek from behind an outer office door. Oihoasih fire a burst at her striking her shoulder and spinning her behind the door and out of sight. He barked a command in battle language to one of the warriors passing him and moving deeper into the large office bay. The warrior immediately moved to take up a firing position covering the office that the human had fired from. Oihoasih bark the clan’s battle language to get the attention of a new warrior cautiously making his way up the staircase from the first floor. He waved for that warrior to check the room now being covered to see if the two humans shot had survived.

Oihoasih watched as the two warriors cleared the room, the quickly emerged indicating by hand signal that the two humans were dead. Oihoasih check the LED indicator on the side of his advanced combat rifle before moving to lead the growing number of Aslan to the next floor of the building. He had only spent a fraction of the weapon’s magazine of caseless rounds and had only fired one grenade so far in the fight. He looked at the warriors gathering for the move up to the next floor. In the background he could hear the yelling of the warriors from the first group that had entered the building with him finishing the clearing of the second floor.

Oihoasih moved to the foot of the stairs, he quickly surveyed the east and west wings of the second floor; all the offices had been cleared by the pride. He then looked at the faces of the Aslan warriors standing beside him and saw the look of determination that First Division veterans wore. He laid his head back and let loose a primeval roar that was echoed by the others around him then he rushed up the stairs to the third floor. He sprinted the stair case as fast as he could knowing that his warriors had to follow one at a time due to their bulk and the width of the staircase made for humans. The third floor used the same format as the second floor, two large bays on either side of the open stairwell with offices surrounding the perimeter of the floor. The only cover was provided by the desks and the staircase itself as it continued on up to the fourth and final floor.

Immediately upon clearing the stairs and entering the third floor Oihoasih came under automatic fire from two directions. To one side he recognized the sound of the humans’ automatic rifles, to the other side he heard the sound of what he thought was an enforcer’s submachinegun. He was caught in crossfire from both the east and the west. He was hit by both firers, once in the chest and the second time in the thighs, his combat armor absorbing some of the hits but not all. He felt a sudden pressure just under his armpit in the side of his chest, and then his groin felt like he had just been kicked. He immediately felt lightheaded and his vision began to darken, loosing color and depth. He saw the warrior behind him moving past him in slow motion as we floated to the floor. As he hit the floor he only just then realized he had been hit. He was beyond pain; numbness had taken over his body as he drifted into unconsciousness still holding his rifle in the ready position across his chest.

Previous: The Aslan - Part IV